Grove Road eatery in shortlist for Sussex Food and Drink Awards - but I’d love to see more Eastbourne finalists

SUS-190215-113715001
SUS-190215-113715001

Every year I put on my swankiest frock, a pair of heels and totter off to the Amex in Brighton for the Sussex Food and Drink Awards.

It’s an annual event recognising the best chefs, food and drink suppliers etc in the county and the rather sumptuous banquet and awards ceremony is THE foodie event of the year. But one thing bothers me year in year out is the lack of nominations and finalists from East Sussex and more importantly Eastbourne and Hailsham. So this year it is wonderful to see Grove Road’s Skylark shortlisted in the Newcomer of the Year category. If memory serves me right, it is the first Eastbourne business to have been shortlisted. Sharnfold Farm on the Ersham Road was nominated and indeed won a couple of years back and it’s lovely to see locals being praised. Now, it’s down to the judges to decide. I am looking forward to the celebrations on May 15 already.

I was lucky enough recently to go behind the scenes at the Congress Theatre recently to see where all the millions are being spent and was also in the audience (and dancing in the aisles with Neil Peters) at the soft launch last Saturday. This grand old lady has had a major facelift and is sparkling from the specially made chandeliers (in the same style as were installed back in 1963 when the theatre was built) in the first floor bar to the mustard walls (thankfully that insipid blue paint is nowhere to be seen) right down to her carpet, sent over from Sweden and still being laid two hours before curtains up. The evening was designed to flush out any problems ahead of this weekend’s grand opening with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and aside from a couple of toilet issues, it ran like a dream. That Tucker bloke from the panto was the warm up act with music from the brilliant Equatorial Group and after a fire drill, evacuation and interval drinkies, music from one of the best Abba tribute acts about. Contractors were on hand to make sure any snags were sorted out and by the time Sunday afternoon comes around and the theatre is handed back to the council, everything should be working perfectly...

It’s Mother’s Day next week and if you are lucky enough to still have your mum, make sure you spoil her rotten and tell her you love her – and not just on Sunday March 31. Once again I will be heading to the Lansdowne Hotel on the seafront where Catherine Clifford holds a Remember your Mum event from 11am. The first event was last year and was lovely. We all brought photos of our mums to pin on a tree of light and have a cuppa and a slice of cake and light a candle in return for a donation to Winston’s Wish, the childhood bereavement charity.

Finally, if you’re at a loose end tonight and love your live music, my friend Maggie K de Monde is playing at Printers in Grove Road tonight (Friday) at a charity gig to raise money for Love Is All You Need. Tickets are a tenner on the door.